Chris Fragassi: Lupus Warrior
Meet Glenview Support Group leader Chris. She is a wife, mothers of 2 and lupus warrior.
What type of lupus do you have?
When were you diagnosed with lupus?
How long did it take for a correct diagnosis?
Once I started seeing the rheumatologist that diagnosed me, it took only about a month, but I saw many doctors over 15 years.
Were you misdiagnosed first?
Doctors suspected I had Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome lymphoma and stress.
How has your life changed since your diagnosis?
It was a relief to finally know what was wrong with me! I could just focus on taking care of myself and stop searching for answers.
How did you find the Lupus Society of Illinois (LSI)?
On the internet when I was searching for a support group.
Were you involved with a support group before becoming a leader?
I attended the group that I now lead.
Why did you decide to become a support group leader?
I was asked to take over the group when the leader had to step down. I’m a big fan of support groups as I have had positive experiences from groups that I attended in the past.
Tell me about your support group. (How long have you been a leader, why did you start the group, etc.)
I have led our group for about 8 years. Although I was hesitant at first to take it over because of the commitment, it has brought me fulfillment and purpose.
How has the LSI supported you and your support group?
LSI has been truly supportive in giving us information, materials, and anything we need. As a leader, they have been a helpful resource and have motivated me to try to be the most effective leader than I can be.
Why is providing lupus support so important to you?
I know how confusing and frightening it can be to be diagnosed with lupus and I know the power of being supported by others who are going through the same thing.
How has your support group helped you?
The members of my group help me to remember that I am not alone, and my symptoms are not “all in my head”. They remind me by their example that we don’t have to be defined by lupus, we just have to learn to live with it.
Why is it important for you to hold regular meetings?
It’s important to get together regularly to support each other and share our experiences with each other and especially with new members.
How has the LSI helped you cope with lupus?
The information that LSI shares with us is a valuable tool that helps to keep us informed about new treatments, research, and understanding of lupus.
What would you want the world to know about lupus? Why?
There needs to be more awareness and understanding of lupus and how it affects the people who have it, especially since it is often an “invisible disease” and is so misunderstood. I want the world to know that although lupus can be debilitating, we are strong and courageous warriors!
Find out about the Glenview and other Lupus Support Groups here.